Saturday, December 14, 2013

One97, SingTel to launch gaming platform in India

Mobile-internet firm One97 has tied up with Singapore Telecommunications to launch its gaming platform in India. One97 has also integrated its payment portal paytm.com with billing systems of leading mobile phone companies including Vodafone and Idea to create an in-app purchase and billing mechanism. 

"The catalogue of games from SingTel will now be available for Indian mobile phone users, and One97 will be an aggregator and distributor of these games," said One97 CMD Vijay Shekhar Sharma, adding that the firm was in the final stages of creating a similar billing system for Airtel and BSNL. The platform is known as One97 Games. 
In-app billing comes into play when a smartphone user is playing a game and wants to buy any product showcased within in, for instance game money to improve player features in Temple Run. The game prompts the user to key in credit card details to make the purchase. With an in-app billing system, a consumer can make the purchase and continue playing, minimising the interruption.The amount gets deducted from the balance or reflected in the monthly bill, which is where the company's paytm.com payment portal will get integrated. 

In the UK or US, buying products within a game or over mobile phones using credit cards is common practice but in India consumers aren't comfortable with such a process. In-app-operator billing has the potential to succeed big time in India where not more than 20 million people use credit cards, according to RBI data. 

Sharma said it had also lowered the prices of games offered by SingTel to Rs 35-50 from $1.5-2 (approx Rs 124) for Indian consumers to boost wide adoption. 

Italian mobile payments firm NeoMobile's chief executive Gianluca D'Agostino recently told ET during a visit to India that operators were keener on introducing billing through the operator as that was a more convenient way of making purchases on mobile phones for consumers. He added that the company had tied up with Vodafone India and Bharti Airtel to extend this service to consumers and was also discussing the possibility of signing up with other operators. Bharti Airtel and Vodafone together account for more than 320 million mobile phone users in India.

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